Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

Secretary of Defense Peter Dutton has confirmed that one Chinese ‘spy ship’ spent three weeks off the coast of Australia this year.

Dutton told Today that the surveillance vessel remained outside Australian waters and did not break any laws.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy ship sailed from the waters off Darwin, hugging the coast and going as far south as Sydney.

A file image of the Chinese Navy’s surveillance ship Tianwangxing, which was monitoring military exercises in Queensland earlier this year. (US Naval Institute)

Sir. Dutton said its crew likely monitored signals and other communications for an extended period of time.

“They will be involved in intelligence gathering, signal gathering. They will seek to investigate different characteristics and have the general presence.”

Sir. Dutton said the incident earlier this year was a reminder of China’s military build-up.

“China has 355 ships and submarines in its fleet, which will go to 460 within the next nine years or so. It is a worrying time.

Defense Secretary Peter Dutton said the Chinese surveillance ship was likely monitoring signal intelligence from Australia. (Nine)

“That’s why Australia needs to be strong and stand up for our values. I think it’s right that people have a clear picture of what’s going on.”

In July, a Chinese surveillance ship off Queensland’s waters monitored military exercises hosted by Australia.

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